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Joined: 04/19/2006
Posts: 13
successful scouting trips

im wondering how some of you plan out your scouting trips. i have been up a few times this year and it was okay. i would like to make sure i am using my time correctly since i only get a chance to scout about once a month. can i get some input on what to look for? it seems like i spend a lot of time just driving around and not as much time getting out and walking. obviously im looking for deer and signs. but what are some ways to make sure i have a successful scouting trip? all info is much appreciated.

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Location: OlyWa
Joined: 04/27/2005
Posts: 472
successful scouting trips

From home I use topo maps and aerial photos. Then I look for the right aged timber, creeks, and lack of easy access.

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Joined: 04/19/2006
Posts: 13
successful scouting trips

why the right aged timber?

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Location: OlyWa
Joined: 04/27/2005
Posts: 472
successful scouting trips

Bears like to eat certain aged trees, and the blacktails like to hide/bed/eat in the thick reprod/com thin forests. Certain draws have older Alder patches that the deer/elk like to feed and bed in.

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Joined: 02/25/2007
Posts: 53
successful scouting trips

I'm sure you know the fundamentals of scouting are to find food, water and cover. Billythekidrock is certainly right about reprod, however deer, elk and bear can find food water and cover in other parts of the forests as well. One of the best things you can do is to learn how to identify food sources such as beargrass, salal, chokecherry, snowberry, salmonberry, oaks, young alders, and the other million types of berries that grow here. Deer and elk will eat the leaves of nearly every berry in the forest, while bears will eat the actual berries. If you need help in identifying these plants, Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coast by Pojar and McKinnon will be extremely useful if you hunt the west side of the cascades or the coast range.

Once you find a preferred food source the cover and water probably wont be too far away. If it's too thick to get through without a machete the deer will bed in it. Look for trails leading to and from these areas. During the summer the deer will bed deep in drainages where it's cool. Also ask yourself when you find sign, if it was likely made at night or day.

The biggest thing is getting out of your truck and into othe woods. Harvest rates are relatively low here in the Northwest, but it is my belief that the 20% harvest rates mostly represent the same hunters year in and year out. Some get lucky, but the guys who regularly kill something spend a lot of time getting away from the road hunters by wearing out their boots in the woods before and during the season. The bottom line is that if you spend enough time in the woods, it will all come to you eventually.

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Location: OlyWa
Joined: 04/27/2005
Posts: 472
successful scouting trips

Solo made some great points, esp. about the different types of berries. One thing I wanted to mention about the westside. If we have typical weather don't spen your time around water unless you see alot of fresh sign. The critters over here get water from their food and the numerous puddles that are everywhere. I swear that our blacktails don't drink.....

tim
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Location: north idaho
Joined: 06/11/2004
Posts: 611
successful scouting trips

wouldn't it be to early to scout for migratory animals? Whitetail i can understand, they don't leave where you see them. Mulies and elk are a different story?

I watched a nice whitetail buck this morning. I was also drinking my coffee during this "scouting" lol

I will say that since i moved to a place that i can glass from 24\7 my eyes have gotten alot better at spotting animals. My wife has turned pretty good at spotting game also. I do believe this is because, we can and do watch the local game on a daily basis. I got to watch a cow elk push a doe out of a salt lick the other night. kind cool. We where eating dinner at this time.

tim

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Location: WASHINGTON
Joined: 05/18/2006
Posts: 34
successful scouting trips

i don't think migration is too much of an issue in western washington. eastern wa would depend on when you want to hunt. the animals i hunt in the general season are there all summer. if you're talking a late archery hunt, then yeah...no sense scouting animals now, but it sure would be good to learn the country. figure out where you want to be etc.

tim
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Location: north idaho
Joined: 06/11/2004
Posts: 611
successful scouting trips

that make sense, and i guess it would also depend if you are looking for country or a particular animal. good luck and scout away.

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